Ambition II is based on a design by Alan Pape. She was commissioned by John Paul, as an expedition and sail training vessel. John modified the original design with support from Alan, and the vessel was built in steel by Offshore Steel Boats on the Humber, and fitted out by John himself. Launched in 1987, she was bound with a crew of six on a circumnavigation in the wake of Captain Cook’s expedition. John has recently published s book on the Cook’s Wake voyage.
Her hull design resembles those of Colin Archer. The rockered keel runs the full length of the vessel, rising up the curved bow and bluff canoe stern. The steel plating meets in two hard chines, and the generous beam provide ample accommodation and excellent stability. Decks and cabin top are all in steel, including the hood which gives full shelter to the forward half of the cockpit.
The Bermudan cutter rig with fully battened main provides plenty of sail area, with all control lines coming aft to the cockpit. Combined with a good set of winches, this makes her large rig relatively easy to manage.
She was fitted with a Ford engine (the same as fitted to the larger transit vans) which though ageing and undoubtedly less efficient than a modern engine, continued to be reliable up until 2017, when a new Yanmar 4JH4-TE engine was fitted. Paul specified enough fuel capacity to reach land from the middle of any ocean, in case of rig damage, so she has two 75 gallon tanks plus a reserved 50 gallons in the keel (close to 1000 litres in all). She has a fixed 3-bladed prop.
Steering is by wheel from the centre cockpit, with cables to a quadrant. An emergency tiller can be fitted through the lazarette. She has a Raymarine electric autopilot, and in 2016 was fitted with a Hydrovane wind pilot.